Since the 1950s the track at Elkhart Lake, WI has hosted the sport of racing for fans, drivers and racing enthusiasts of all stripes. This weekend two JCWs will hit the course running and MF will be there.
The MINI JCW Racing Team travels to the rolling Wisconsin hills near scenic Elkhark Lake for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at historic Road America this coming weekend. Racing on one of the longest circuits in the U.S. at four miles will present the team with new challenges, especially right after competing at Lime Rock, one of the shortest tracks at 1.5 miles. Will the MINI have an advantage or be at a disadvantage? We’ll know on Saturday. We do know that MINI #52 will be back in action, and that’s good news.
MINI JCW Team Back at Full Strength
That’s right, MINI number 52 is ready to go and will be joining number 37 in the team effort at Road America. The team has been racing short-handed ever since #52 was heavily damaged at Watkins Glen back in June. Zack Meyer and Stephen Simpson will be driving #37 while Ramin Abdolvahabi and Dan Clarke will be piloting #52.
When asked about the long Road America track, Stephen Simpson said, “I’m not sure how it will affect our cars, but some races this year where we thought we would not do so well have proven good for us. So I’m looking forward to a competitive weekend for the team and looking to continue our progress.”
Road America: America’s National Park of Speed
Wisconsin has had a love affair with sports car road racing in and around Elkhart Lake dating back to the early 1950s when the era’s fastest sports cars raced on public roads. The dangers involved were pretty obvious to the Wisconsin state legislature, and racing on public roads was banned in 1952. Many fans thought it was the end of exciting racing, but Cliff Tuftle, a civil engineer and president of a local sand & gravel company, had a better idea.
Cliff brought together influential citizens of Sheboygan County and the leaders of the Chicago Region of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) to discuss a new, purpose-built road racing course. Everything went according to plan and work began on the track in April 1955 just outside of Elkhart Lake. Road America’s opening event was an SCCA national race held on September 10-11, 1955 with participants such as Briggs Cunningham and a young Californian named Phil Hill who would later become America’s first Formula 1 World Champion.
Except for upgraded amenities and the installation of track safety features, the four-mile, 14-turn track layout remains as it was designed. It is still a challenging course and a favorite of some of the best drivers in the world thanks to its variety of turns and long straights that provide plenty of passing opportunities.
MINI Car Corral
Building on the success of MINI owner’s corrals at previous races, MINI USA and MotorWerks Magazine will bring another special event for MINI owners attending the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America giving them a special area to gather and cheer on the MINI JCW Racing Team. The corral will provide preferred parking for corral participants, soft drinks and water on Friday and a lunch on Saturday. In addition, time permitting, there will be a meet and greet, and an autograph session with team members.
The corral is free, but please note: ALL ATTENDEES MUST RSVP to Tonine.McGarvie@bmwnaext.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
For up-to-date corral details, please see the MotorWerks Magazine Facebook page.
Race and Broadcast Times
The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase will get the green flag at 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, August 8th. For ticket information and a detailed race weekend schedule, please see the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge website. If you can’t be there in person, you can still catch all of the MINI action—the two and a half hour race will be streamed live on IMSA.com and IMSA Mobile App, and will be rebroadcast on Fox Sports 1 on August 17th. Please check your local cable company schedule for the exact time and channel.